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Your favorite sightreading resources?
#3039766 10/27/20 04:52 AM
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Hallo,

my teacher kinda threw me a curveball yesterday by making me sightread. Of course i failed miserably. Whilst i have a couple resources at home, i am looking into really incorporating sight reading into my daily practice routine, there is just no other way around it.

So i am curious what kind of books you like. Sure there is stuff like Bartoks Mikrokosmos etc., but i am always on the lookout for more things. Maybe even something with a bit more structure, geared to really "teach" sightreading.

Thanks smile

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Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039785 10/27/20 06:31 AM
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Hi Matze, welcome to PW. I don't necessarily sit down and say I'm going to practice sight reading. I just find random pieces of music and try to play them, or parts within them. That by itself is probably the biggest reason why I can read much better than I could 5 years ago now. Just keep reading something new.

RCM has a sight reading and ear training book for each level. That has been useful as well.


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Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039788 10/27/20 06:43 AM
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You can sight read anything you want that is in the range of your current level or even above (within reasonable limits). There are plenty of books by level with a set of pieces. If you are a beginner, the Mozart Notenbucher would have plenty of easy ones and also more difficult.

Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039805 10/27/20 07:25 AM
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I would recommend playing as many different varities of music as you can find. Have a favorite pop performer? Look for a book of his/her music. Play as much new music as possible in as many classical music periods as you can.

One thing to watch out for: READ the music, rather than MEMORIZING the music you play in your lessons. You get better at doing it by just reading music.

Don’t make it a chore! Just look for music that appears interesting and try it out. You may find it is something you really want to learn or maybe not... but you have tried it.

This is a great site to listen to new music, all performed by college professors

https://m.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

Last edited by dogperson; 10/27/20 07:28 AM.
Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039814 10/27/20 08:05 AM
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My sight-reading and reading in general is poor. The resource I've found most helpful is Cory Hall's (Bach Scholar) Sight Reading and Harmony book. This is deliberately structured to teach sight-reading.

It has about 150 four-bar snippets of Bach chorales. Each is arranged into four levels of difficulty starting from one note in each hand, half and quarter notes only, up to two notes per hand with eighth notes included.

The beauty of this system is that it lets you pick exactly the right level so that it's hard enough that you are challenged but easy enough you can mostly do it without looking down at your hands. Getting this level right is really, really important to make progress.

If you are reasonable at reading to start with there may be better resources but I think this is really good for someone at a very basic level. It's counterpoint, too, so it doesn't easily stick in the memory, and you can go back to pieces you've played before and it's almost as if they are new.

I got my copy on Amazon but a PDF is also available.


Yamaha U1. Yamaha P-45. Yamaha RD-250 (a long time ago). smile
Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039816 10/27/20 08:12 AM
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Good sight readers didn't generally get good by "practicing" sight reading. They just played through a lot of music for enjoyment. Choose pieces that interest you at a level where you can have reasonable success. Don't be afraid to stop while sight reading if you have to. I don't recommend something like the Bartok because beyond the very easiest which will probably not be interesting musically, they contain a lot of meter changes and accidentals that make them difficult to read.

Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039838 10/27/20 09:01 AM
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I'm not a great sight reader but I'm improving. The key concepts, in no particular order, are:

* Read from the bottom up (vertically from the bass clef up to the treble clef)

* Read ahead (the general movement or your eyes will be: move down and to the right, up, down and to the right, up, etc.). At first, you won't be able to read ahead at all but, over time, you will find that you are able to scan further and further ahead.

* Slow down! Play as slowly as necessary so that you can do the first two steps and make as few mistakes as possible.

* Look for patterns

* Count

* Keep going. Don't stop when you make a mistake

Equally important is to read music away from the piano and consciously spell out the notes, rhythms, chords, patterns, etc. I know that you know how to read music but you would be surprised at how many simple reading mistakes happen "in the heat of the moment" because you have misidentified a note or a rhythm.

Sight reading takes a LOT of concentration. If you are thinking about what you need to pick up at the store or about work or whatever then either clear your mind or do something else.

Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039842 10/27/20 09:14 AM
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I used the RCM 4 Star sight reading books, which you can get for all the levels. They have short excerpts from classical music, and there is a wide variety. Much better than restricting yourself to Bach chorales or just using something you already have.

After I went through all those levels (over 4 years), I moved on to complete editions - like Haydn and Mozart sonatas and Scarlatti sonatas, and anthologies, like the Classics to Moderns, Music for Millions books.

The trick is to do it everyday for a few minutes. It doesn't take long to get better. Aim for accuracy, not speed, and don't stop or hesitate. Get the notes and rhythm right. Go as slow as you need to. Later, much later, you can worry about speed.

Sam

Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
bSharp(C)yclist #3039864 10/27/20 10:07 AM
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Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039867 10/27/20 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Matze
So i am curious what kind of books you like. Sure there is stuff like Bartoks Mikrokosmos etc., but i am always on the lookout for more things. Maybe even something with a bit more structure, geared to really "teach" sightreading.
You know, when I was a student and knew nothing about nothin', every new classical piece was a discovery, waiting to be discovered.

At that time, there were no computers (not even pocket calculators - hard to believe, I know). Everything was done with elbow grease and grey cells. I used a lot of both, regularly visiting the school music library and carting off big volumes of piano music (followed soon after by piano reductions of concertos, symphonies, operas, not forgetting Lieder......) - Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms: piano sonatas, shorter pieces, sets of pieces etc - stuffing them into my rucksack and then (trying to) play them after school in a practice room in the school's music department.

It was just fun, every time I discovered a new tune, an interesting harmony, a funny rhythm - and all by myself, with no help even from the school cat (though there were no cats in my school). Did it matter that I was stumbling frequently trying to read the mass of notes, let alone trying to play them? Not in the least. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as Goethe once said (or maybe he didn't). Imagine hearing a tune like this for the first time, and you're actually playing it yourself, with your own fair hands:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcxGGyB0xZk

You can't stop, and you want to know what comes next, and then after that, and you keep going......

That's why you should sight-read good real music, by real good composers, instead of 'practicing' sight-reading, which sounds like a chore, like brushing your teeth, as opposed to tasting and eating a box of chocolate varieties (assuming you like chocolate).

Like this chocolate ganache:

https://ks4.imslp.net/files/imglnks...gendzeit_Nr.9_Weihnachtstraum_Schott.pdf

It's probably too tricky for you to sight-read both hands together at your present level, but just play the first few bars of the LH part and see if you can resist going on...... grin

The book I always recommend for all classical students to use - for sight-reading as well as finding attractive new pieces to learn - is this, which should be within your current standard:

https://www.amazon.de/Easy-Classics-Moderns-Music-Millions/dp/0825640172

And don't forget there's lots more free stuff on IMSLP yippie


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039904 10/27/20 11:22 AM
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I think you don't really mean sight reading. It's just reading. You get better at reading just by reading a lot. And if you are a good reader, you'll be able to play through music you haven't seen before. Sight reading is something else.

Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039921 10/27/20 12:10 PM
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I use sight reading factory: www.sightreadingfactory.com

It is a internet app. Choose: level1-8, all keys, all common times, 8 bar or more, and it assembles a new set of bars when ever you want. Never play the same score twice, unless you want to, but that is not sight reading but more like memorizing.

Interesting how many different views there are about what sight reading really is. As one music teacher told me, she was an expert at sight reading, because before her lessons she did no practice at all and everything she played during the lesson was sight reading!

If you are doing it for your music teacher then ask her what she thinks it is and what books would be best for her expectations. Have her teach you how to sight read, after all that is her job!

On the other hand if you are doing it for a graded music exam, then learn how to sight read for the exam.

Don’t feel bad about failing miserably, it was you first time! You should feel great, you survived and now you know an area that you can improve on.

If you do anything long enough, then you will get really good at it.

Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039932 10/27/20 12:37 PM
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How do (some) piano teachers teach these days? I often wonder when visiting the Piano Teachers Forum, when teachers 'accidentally' discover their students can't even read music, let alone sight-read, after a few years of lessons - even though they've had those students since day 1 (and therefore have no-one to blame but themselves for what happened).

All my four teachers made me sight-read through every piece I learnt with them, from about three months of lessons onwards, when I'd learnt the basics of music notation. In other words, even if I never sight-read stuff on my own, I'd still have sight-read several hundreds of pieces over the years, all of them in front of my teachers. They could see how good (or bad) I was at sight-reading, every time they put a new piece on the music rest and commanded me to "Play!", and they could also see where my reading problems were (- rhythm? accidentals? key signatures?) I didn't get to choose what I wanted to learn. They choose all the pieces for me, and I then had to play them myself to find out how the music sounded. None of them ever played the pieces for me until I'd learnt them, and was ready to finish with them. (No internet then, therefore no YT).

And all my fellow music students (on any musical instrument, not just piano) had the same experience, with their own teachers. Was it because we all did music exams, of which sight-reading was an important part - or was it just that all their teachers knew how to teach?

Since I myself started teaching piano (this year), that's also the way I teach. No student of mine will ever lack reading skills. (If they don't want to learn to read music, they can go elsewhere......I don't teach piano for my living.)


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3039934 10/27/20 12:43 PM
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I never took an exam —- didn’t know they existed😉 but I developed good reading and then sight-reading skills. We sight-read duets during my theory lesson. There was no faking reading ability when doing that


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
wszxbcl #3039966 10/27/20 02:23 PM
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Thanks a lot for all these suggestions, i do have a couple sightreading books at home, so i get myself going work on them. Just gotta sit down and actually do it, haha. In regards to "what does your teacher actually do?", well, lessons aren't that long (45min) and we have a lot to talk about. But i think there will be more sightreading in the future. I just prefer to use that time to discuss actual difficulties i had with my pieces than doing "practice" in a lesson.

PS, bennevis, love that Schubert piece, hes my favorite composer, just recently finished one of his Impromptus (D899/1). Really great! <3

Last edited by Matze; 10/27/20 02:24 PM.
Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3040032 10/27/20 06:14 PM
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Matze, I like Schubert too. I find it's good reading practice to play the piano accompaniment to Schubert's Lieder.

Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3040061 10/27/20 07:50 PM
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If the music one is sight reading is not something one enjoys, then sight reading becomes a chore. That's why I would never recommend those sight reading app with random musical selections. If you like to play classical, sight read music by the great composers, not second or third rate composers. If you like non classical, sight read good arrangements at a level appropriate for your skill.

Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Matze #3040162 10/28/20 05:31 AM
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Yeah, i can imagine, i'm not very picky when it comes to music (except atonal), as long as its classical. I don't even pick the pieces i work on.

But if it also sounds nice, then sightreading is that much sweeter i can imagine smile Thats what i like about Bach, it sounds good even when played slow. Got that Sightreading + Harmony book for that very reason

Last edited by Matze; 10/28/20 05:33 AM.
Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
scirocco #3040350 10/28/20 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by scirocco
My sight-reading and reading in general is poor. The resource I've found most helpful is Cory Hall's (Bach Scholar) Sight Reading and Harmony book. This is deliberately structured to teach sight-reading.

It has about 150 four-bar snippets of Bach chorales. Each is arranged into four levels of difficulty starting from one note in each hand, half and quarter notes only, up to two notes per hand with eighth notes included.

The beauty of this system is that it lets you pick exactly the right level so that it's hard enough that you are challenged but easy enough you can mostly do it without looking down at your hands. Getting this level right is really, really important to make progress.

If you are reasonable at reading to start with there may be better resources but I think this is really good for someone at a very basic level. It's counterpoint, too, so it doesn't easily stick in the memory, and you can go back to pieces you've played before and it's almost as if they are new.

I got my copy on Amazon but a PDF is also available.

I considered that book. It is expensive!!

Re: Your favorite sightreading resources?
Pikka #3040353 10/28/20 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Pikka
Originally Posted by scirocco
My sight-reading and reading in general is poor. The resource I've found most helpful is Cory Hall's (Bach Scholar) Sight Reading and Harmony book. This is deliberately structured to teach sight-reading.

It has about 150 four-bar snippets of Bach chorales. Each is arranged into four levels of difficulty starting from one note in each hand, half and quarter notes only, up to two notes per hand with eighth notes included.

The beauty of this system is that it lets you pick exactly the right level so that it's hard enough that you are challenged but easy enough you can mostly do it without looking down at your hands. Getting this level right is really, really important to make progress.

If you are reasonable at reading to start with there may be better resources but I think this is really good for someone at a very basic level. It's counterpoint, too, so it doesn't easily stick in the memory, and you can go back to pieces you've played before and it's almost as if they are new.

I got my copy on Amazon but a PDF is also available.

I considered that book. It is expensive!!


It also only includes Bach, which is not as ideal as playing s variety of music.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
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